Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Dai-nipponjin by Hitoshi Matumoto is screening Friday, Sept. 14 as part of the Midnight Madness program.

C. Geddes describes the film as " Daisato lives a mundane life in a rundown house tagged with insulting and obscenity-riddled graffiti. This middle-aged slacker seems a puzzling subject to be followed by the documentary crew that films his banal daily routine. That is, until he prepares for his “job.” As bolts of electricity rip through the sky, Daisato is transformed into a stocky giant several storeys high, sporting tight purple briefs, tattoos and an Eraserhead-style hairdo. In his hand is a big stick – for beating the crap out of monsters.

Welcome to the world of Dainipponjin (which translates as “The Great Japanese”), a sixth-generation superhero defending Japan from outlandish “baddies,” as Daisato calls them. These ridiculous villains include the freak with the comb-over hairdo who pulls down skyscrapers with elastic arms or the revolting beast that lets rip stink clouds equaling the smell of twenty thousand human feces chased by a dash of horny suitor.

Surrounded by mystical tradition and ceremony, his predecessors were national champions feted with parades and cheering fans. Today, Daisato’s battles are broadcast late at night to diminishing ratings. He has become the scapegoat of New Japan, whose citizens bitterly complain about the noise and destruction of property he causes. Daisato has his own problems, including an agent insistent on branding him with sponsor advertisements, an Alzheimer-afflicted grandfather who transforms into a giant in dirty underwear and an ex-wife and daughter who are embarrassed by his often cowardly exploits.

This film reminds me of "Zebraman", a movie with the focus more on humor than on action. I loved Zebraman.Variety.com from the screening at Cannes said the film is "tears down the face funny." Good enough for me.

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